Friday - Oct 30, 2020

Home / Commentary / START/BENCH: Week 8


Let’s face it folks. As we head into Week 8 of the NFL/fantasy football season it’s a great time to be a sports fan and alive in general. The World Series starts this week and the Chicago Cubs are actually in it! Yes. As a Detroit Tigers fan I have adopted the Cubs as my new favorite team and would like them to defeat our division rival Cleveland Indians.

If the NBA is your thing then you are happy to see the regular season kick off this week and the NHL has been in action for a few weeks. There’s also a historic election looming here (pun intended) in the USA and “The Walking Dead” has returned. Yes. Negan is as terrible as advertised. Not Case Keenum terrible mind you, but he is still “one bad Hombre”…sorry…couldn’t resist.

Last week was once again a very big week for running backs with Melvin Gordon and Jay Ajayi leading the way. It was a very good week to be a second-year RB or Andrew Luck.

Due to the quirky 2016 NFL schedule we have six teams on a bye this week so there’s that. The biggest names missing this week are Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.

Never fear folks as we still have plenty of great ‘start’ options to help you cover for the loss of those players.

Let’s do this!




Cam Newton
Andrew Luck
Aaron Rodgers
Drew Brees
Tom Brady
Derek Carr
Matt Ryan
Philip Rivers
Matthew Stafford
Ben Roethlisberger –bye week & knee injury-

Time to Take a Seat

Carson Palmer It’s tough to know if it’s the concussion he suffered or the hamstring issue that he’s battling that is hampering Palmer, but he’s been awful over his last four games. In those games, Palmer has thrown two TD passes while turning the ball over six times. Those are definitely not the numbers of a weekly must-start QB.



Marcus Mariota, TENNESSEE vs. Jacksonville – We ride Mariota for at least one more week as he’s been a top-three QB over the last three games. He has put up 817 total yards in that time while scoring nine total TDs and turning the ball over just twice. More impressive are Mariota’s rushing totals in the last three games in which he’s run for 138 yards and a score. The Jaguars have been decent in holding QBs in check allowing only nine TD passes through six games but have also allowed three rushing scores to the position. Look for Mariota to do some damage with his legs this week.


Carson Palmer, ARIZONA at Carolina – While he’s no longer a weekly must-start, Palmer is worth rolling out this week due to a great matchup. The Panthers are one of the top defenses when it comes to allowing fantasy points to QBs. In the three games prior to their bye week, Carolina gave up 1,187 passing yards and nine TDs. Both Matt Ryan and Drew Brees threw for over 450 yards (Ryan actually topped 500 yards) and four TDs against the Panthers. Palmer is expected to have John Brown back this week and J.J. Nelson is emerging as another deep threat for Arizona. This is a get healthy week for Palmer and the Cardinals’ passing game.


Brock Osweiler, HOUSTON vs. Detroit – I realize that Osweiler has not looked very good of late outside of leading the Texans to that come from behind win against the Colts. But sometimes the matchup is just so juicy that a struggling QB can right the ship (at least for a week) and this is just that type of matchup. Detroit is the top defense for allowing fantasy points to QBs and will likely be without their top CB Darius Slay this week due to the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 7. In the first seven games, QBs facing the Lions have finished the week as a top-10 fantasy option five times and in the top-5 four times. This is as good as it gets for Osweiler and I see a top-10 finish for him in Week 8.


Russell Wilson, SEATTLE at New Orleans – Since suffering both ankle and knee injuries early in the season, Wilson has been a very ordinary QB for fantasy purposes. Over the past two games he’s been downright awful, failing to score at all. So a trip to New Orleans is just what the fantasy doctor ordered as the Saints once again struggle on defense (in other news…water is wet). New Orleans has allowed at least two TDs to the QB position in four consecutive games and even an immobile Wilson should feast on this porous secondary. Look for TE Jimmy Graham to have a huge day in helping Wilson to break out of his slump this week.



Tyrod Taylor, BUFFALO vs. New England – The Patriots will be looking for some payback after the Bills shut them out in Week 4. That’s bad news for a QB that is losing offensive weapons at a frightening pace. With LeSean McCoy still struggling with a hamstring issue, the Bills will be hard-pressed to mount a ground game and that will put the game in Taylor’s hands. He may be without WRs Robert Woods (foot) as well as Marquise Goodwin (concussion) further complicating things. You can bet ‘The Hoodie’ will scheme to primarily shut down Taylor this week as there aren’t any other real threats on the Bills offense. In their Week 4 game versus New England, Taylor finished with 274 total yards and one TD which landed him outside the top-15 in fantasy scoring for QBs that week.


Dak Prescott, DALLAS vs. Philadelphia – This isn’t as much an indictment of Prescott as it is a tip of the cap to a very good Eagles defense. Or more specifically, a very good defense in limiting fantasy points to QBs. Through six games, the Philadelphia defense has given up only six TD passes and has picked off five passes. They have also racked up 20 sacks and that’s why I see the Cowboys attacking this unit with the running game and a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott. The return of Dez Bryant is a positive for Prescott but the edge rush of the Eagles will limit his chances to get the ball to his stud WR. There are better options out there this week.


Blake Bortles, JACKSONVILLE at Tennessee – Coming into the season, Bortles was expected to continue his ascension as an NFL QB as well as fantasy option. Just the opposite has occurred as he has been one of the worst QBs in the league. Bortles looks lost right now and that doesn’t figure to turn around in a short week on the road (Jacksonville plays Thursday night). All we need to know is that on the season, Bortles has scored 10 total TDs and turned the ball over 11 times. No thanks.


Alex Smith, KANSAS CITY at Indianapolis – While this appears to be a great matchup on the surface, there’s no reason to consider rolling Smith out this week. The Chiefs simply do not ask him to do enough in the offense to make him a viable fantasy option. They ideally would like to have him throw the ball no more than 25 times a game riding their defense and running game to victory. Through six games, Smith has only eight total TDs and ranks outside the top-20 in fantasy scoring for QBs. It’s time to stop wondering if he’s a good streaming option even against a weak Indianapolis defense and look elsewhere for a starting QB.

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin